Parents and students are expressing outrage after a middle school teacher who was caught on camera using a racial slur has been allowed back on campus at a Fontana school.
The cellphone video of the Sequoia Middle School teacher was purportedly recorded by an eighth-grade student during an English class last week.
In the video, the teacher is heard repeatedly saying the N-word to a seated student as others look on shockingly. The student appeared to be uncomfortable during the exchange and wasn’t speaking.
“You asked me how to spell it, so go ahead and pronounce it after me,” the teacher is heard saying, allegedly referring to the N-word.
A Fontana Unified School District spokesperson confirms the exchange between the student and teacher happened during a lesson on a Mark Twain novel.
The student who filmed the conversation explains the events leading up to the exchange, saying, “The student asked the teacher how to spell it [the N-word] and out of nowhere, she just starts screaming at the student, trying to force him to say [the N-word]. He was getting uncomfortable. He was shaking his head and starts to put his head down.”
The student said the teacher then stood in front of the classroom and told students they were too sensitive about the N-word. She said, “It’s an English word. It’s in the dictionary and everybody can say it,” the student witness recalled.
The teacher has since been allowed back into the classroom and reportedly said she did not care about the students’ or parents’ opinions on the incident.
District officials have not confirmed whether any disciplinary action against the teacher has been taken.
The district released a statement on the incident saying:
“Sequoia Middle School and the Fontana Unified School District is proud to serve a diverse community and is deeply committed to providing safe, inclusive learning environments where all students can achieve their full potential.
The District has been made aware of a video circulating on social media depicting a recent incident at Sequoia Middle School. During this incident, an exchange occurred between students and a teacher regarding a derogatory term encountered during a lesson related to a Mark Twain novel.
While we acknowledge that this derogatory language comes from a novel first published in the late 1800s, and that historical context is important to consider when discussing literature, the District does not condone the language that was used in the video or using that language outside of the context of discussing the novel.
Fontana Unified is currently investigating this situation. While we cannot provide additional detail at this time, please be assured that the District takes this and all reports of demeaning language seriously, addresses the matter promptly and takes any necessary action.”